July 30, 2010

Skill vs. Talent

I often object when someone say’s I’m "talented" when they see what I’m doing. I feel that it degrades the integrity and real work behind what I’m doing. It’s not like I just woke up and was able to create something beautiful with natural skills. They had to be developed. I continue to devote myself to improving my craft.

You see the main point of importance is to follow your passion!
As I see it, Talent are the gifts we are given. They come easily but need to be developed to become skills. We may have a talent for creating or a singing talent, but that doesn’t make you ready to paint a master piece or sing opera.
Skill requires passion and drive to fuel it. It takes us directing our core energy source, our willpower and applying it with focused determination over a period of time. To develop skills we educate ourselves, take classes and most importantly practice.
After all.....Practice makes perfect.
Skill comes down to the very choices we make. We can take pride in our choices, our skills
We cannot take pride in gifts or talents, we only take them for granted.

 So here is a drawing I did that took two settings to complete. I lightly sketched the major shapes in  pencil. The remainder was done completely freehand with ink, no erasing, no rulers, just concentrated effort as I work to build my drawing skill. 
Click image above to this to see this drawing larger and get a sense of the linework at the proper aspect ratio.
One day I fear that if I didn’t follow my passions that I would be haunted by the decision not to try at all. Using only "gifts" and talent is a life of ease, there is no motivation to improve something you are already good at. Whereas skill is something you work hard at and and can feel proud of your accomplishment at the end of the day. A skill is also something anyone can learn, like drawing. The real talent comes in using your own desire to do it and discipline to get good at it and then you've EARNED the right to call it a skill. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Following your convictions and lead the life of adventure. On some level, that is what I think we are here to do. Take the less safe path and follow your passion! Live, don’t just exist.

July 20, 2010

In Loving Memory, Chris J. Melnychuck

On June 13, 2010 Christopher J. Melnychuck passed away after a determined battle with Cancer.

The works on this blog are works created by Chris. They are in my personal collection, I put them here so others could enjoy them. If you would like to purchase works, or donate and help upcoming animators through the Chris J. Melnychuck Legacy Memorial Scholarship contact the Quickdraw Animation Society.

First off it is important to give credit where it is due. Chris was a good friend to me and an incredible inspiration to many in the arts community in Calgary.  We had an unlikely friendship. We met through the Quickdraw animation Society sometime in 1999 because we each won a Production Scholarship.  Over the years Chris and I took workshops together, animation and shamanism and I always made sure to go to his openings.  He was usually the guy who people talked to to get cheered up.  It was me he went to for inspiration an cheering up. When his heart was broken, or personal battles with his weight, work, staple guns, or even when he was up against the insurmountable art world in Calgary, I know he talked to me to get another perspective. I would encourage him to get back on the horse and show him that life kept on going. I tried to give back to him what he gave to so many.

His enthusiasm and childlike positivity were contagious. He had a huge positive impact on those around him. He was also a painter at heart, like me.  In fact, a very important point here is that some years ago it was him who told me to start drawing every day. If it were not for his challenge and influence this blog would not exist!

Infinity Guitar ~ Chris J. Melynchuck
Acrylic and Collage on Canvas  2007

It wasn't until his Memorial this past Saturday when I had a chance to reflect, hear stories an tell my own, that I realize the positive effect he had on those around him. He is my hero, he knew how to live an enrich others at the same time, friens and art were the most important things to him! I read in his baby book that @ 3 the things he love most were coloring in his coloring book and building stuff with his blocks. Go figure.

One story that I forgot about was during the move from 15 pound pink productions, Kevin Kurtynik and Carol Beecher's home studio where they made "Mr. Reapers Really Bad Morning" and a few other films.  It was a destruction party as the house was being torn down.  Richard Reeves and Darlene were there to help and so where Chris and I.  We enabled each other in the worst way possible, and here is how.  We took the heave claw foot tub out of the second floor bathroom and decided to sen it down the stairs. At first we were going to ride it down, good thing we got talked out of that one, at any rate I went to the bottom and filmed the silliness, we were like kids in a candy store. Would you believe it, the damn thing sparked when it hit the floor!

The Beauty Within ~ Chris J. Melynchuck
Acrylic and Collage on Canvas  2006

For a while, Chris worked at the Kensington Art Supply store building canvases.  He had an overstock of about 40 frames of various sizes in cedar. He cut me a deal and let me walk away with the stretcher bars for around $200. I still needed to stretch the canvas over them, so he ordered a bolt for me for just above cost. He bent over backwards to help me be creative. And would you know it... All the Tibetan Deity paintings and some of the stuff I am still working on today are from that wholesale order I made way back then. The gift that keeps on giving! He ended up starting his own successful company building the best quality canvas's, so many artists are working on his grounds, including Artist  Paul Van Ginkel (see his work here).

 Chris was not only talented he was an incredibly spiritual person. We took Manfred Lucas's shamanism course and discover our spirit animals together. He journeyed with his Grizzly Bear.  Chris had a strong affinity with symbols, notable the spiral. He left behind notebooks of drawings (a drawing a day) and writings. At the memorial numerous rooms were filled with artwork, his movies pare still laying at festivals, reminding us of the importance of making art, he had a positive impact on all those he met, he leaves us with a legacy of creativity.... his "Art the Artifact of living a life." Chris was passionate, dedicated, optimistic, hard working, generous, honest, excited, inquisitive and made others feel better just by knowing him.

  Harvest Guitar Revival ~ Chris J. Melynchuck
Acrylic on Canvas  2007

 A special thanks goes out to our mutual friend Kari Mcqueen for having the strength and courage to MC the memorial and for all her hard work getting curating the art show. To Julia Burns for a moving eulogy, to all the volunteers, sitar player and Chris's brother for the phenomenal space for the event to be held.

I had myself convinced that I would not go up an share my words at the memorial. Those who went up wept, it took so much courage.  It was a definite hot spot with a direct line to my heart. I don't like being vulnerable, especially in front of a crowd. I heard a voice in my head, it was Chris telling me not to be a "chicken". It felt as though he gave me a swift kick in the butt.  I tell you, most who know me would say I'm not shy, on the contrary really outgoing...... but I can tell you I had never been so afraid or nervous in my life. My palms were sweaty, I choked back tears, my stomach had more than just butterflies in it. It was really more difficult than I thought and things did not come out the way I had wanted, but I think the message got across.

I visited Chris a week and a half before he passed away and he told me that he wouldn't wish "this terrible disease" on anyone. It was hard for us to communicate as he was weak and could barely speak, but he still had that youthful glint in his eye. He said, the thing that he missed most from when he was healthy was his Ass, they removed it in what he referred to as the "Assectomy".  Making light of his situation no matter how painful it was........ He kept a good head on his shoulders, and one with a great sense of humor at that. That my friends is a beautiful thing!

Thank you Chris for the many gifts you shared with those around you. You will be missed.

July 15, 2010


If you live in cow town or any town that gets the opportunity to go to Bodyworlds and like to draw anatomy, this is the place to be! I think exhibits like these are very important for artist's to attend.
This is my second time going, it is well worth the price if you walk out of there with some good drawings! I just brought in my sketchbook one pen and a mechanical pencil to do these studies.
 No food or drink allowed, even if you crave beef jerky for some odd reason. I don't really have an appetite when looking at plastinated cadavers. This one kid in there kept saying, "they keep the meat on so they don't fall over", I turned and said it's only MEAT...... if you're going to eat it! and cracked a wry smile. Note: There are no places to sit and it can get very crowded so it may be hard for to draw, for some.
It astounds me at how uneducated/uninformed the average person is about the workings of their very own body. I mean really? Do they not take interest in the mystery of their very own, immensely complicated design and functions outside of this one spectacle. I was telling people what the parts were as they pointe to the liver and told their kids it was a lung. I hear " What's that?" from both adults and children alike.
 Another interesting thing to do is watch people making faces as they emotionally react to each display. A lot of disgusted looks all scrunched up like Popeye drinking bitter beer. The seniors tended to have more interest in disobeying the signage and touching the specimens an explaining to one another their friends or their own surgeries, injuries an diseases. They treat the specimens as other, as if they are only a spectacle, unable to relate themselves to their biology, keeping distance between the body they have and the display bodies a s 'other'.
While having a green tea in the cafe I over heard a daughter ask her mother "Is the soul outside the body, then?" Some of the kids were really smart. I watched one 7 year old explain to his schoolfriends the nuances of the workings of the digestive tract, he only missed naming the duodenum. Maybe his dad was a doctor or he watched a lot of educational television......regardless, my faith in humanity had been restored.

 It may not be the best place for the little ones. You may not want your daughters to be engrossed in the penises;P Vegetarians an the faint of heart may have a hard time with it as well.

As ART and SCIENCE..... I feel the display is very effective, maybe a little garish and some of the displays were poorly mounted, but it was awesome to see animals, like this camels (infant camel is the first drawing on this blog). Sooo cool. It brings it to a new level. For so long religious groups such as the catholics have held relics of their popes etc. in the same way,  doctors an biologists do the same thing and the history of artist's learning about the body have filled volumes, now it is a little more accessible.
 Our bodies are amazing. What an intricate, complex an mysterious organism. Everything fits together so well and has a specific task or function that works symbiotically with the rest. Totally amazing!
 The main thing about the Bodyworlds exhibit for me, is it not only brings about awareness and questions about our own biology, but more importantly........ I think it helps in shaking up our complacency an makes us faced head on MORTALITY! And that alone is worth the price of admission.

July 14, 2010

est. 1978

This iea was born out of a fake tatty Justin Timberlake had in Alpha Dog.
I was thinking how gangsta it would be to get it done on my chest. Nuff said.

Sketched first in pencil, outlined with Copic Multiliner Sp .03 then finished with the Brush style multiliner pen.

July 12, 2010

Smoke on the Water

I really wanted to draw this tugboat inspire by Disney but since it is stampede I needed to include a horse or something. So this is what came about. Notice the ocean is DEEP PURPLE. It was first drawn freehand with a Copic multiliner, outline with a Copic marker then colored in with prismacolor which meant that some of the Copic marker blue and had to be re-touched with Prismacolor black.

Also I wanted to include a post of my certificate I received yesterday for my Level 1 CKM.
All things in my life begin to blend and on some level I think my martial arts practice plays a huge roll in my life and my art practice. So here it is.....

 I forsee more and more of a blending of all sorts of interesting hings on this blog. So stay tuned!

If you are not already following this blog, please hit the FOLLOW button below in order to keep up to date, the more I have, the more dilighent I get on keeping my updates current. Thanks for your help and inspiration;)

July 9, 2010

Giddy Up! Time for a rodeo.

Well, in my town... Calgary, Alberta, Canada
it's the season to throw a parade and the "greatest outdoor show on earth",
Yes, the Calgary Stampede and Exhibition for the mistreatment and torture of animals for entertainment and profit, is here again!

I didn't get much sleep last night, this morning the snowbirds flight path was right over my house and last night I was kept up late by fireworks, which I can see from my bedroom window. I love fireworks.  I also like horses, and a bunch of other cowboy stuff.........and so,  I convinced myself to get up, to get out and get some sun an see the talent at the tail end of the parade.  (no pun intended)
 I drew this with a 0.3 Copic multiliner and the fill was done with the brush pen end of a #110 Copic sketch marker.

Pass the BBQ Sauce!

July 8, 2010

Needing some cartoon color on this blog

There has been a bit too much black an white for me lately.
I needed some color an cartoon violence.
This is a pretty aggressive page, I really like it.

I used my Copic multi-liner 0.5 for the entire thing, if lines look thick it's because I rew them that way. I use my prismacolor for most of it, except the green background and floor. That was filled in with the extremely stinky and bleeding..... but less expensive Chartpak markers. salmon and Chartreuse. Great names, the colors are nothing like the markers look though;(

Some sources: the brute dog came from an old mighty mouse comic I think. The new styled yogi bear  giving Mr. Ranger a UFC style smack down/ground and pound next to my hot headed rendition of George liquor were things I was inspired by following John K's blog. The 'real' ghostbuster's  Slimer is above with the name of an awesome technical MMA fighter.

July 7, 2010

Calgary RMA logo

I designed this logo for my martial arts school. It was pretty much the first time I actually used Illustrator.  Though I mainly learned to use the brush tool and vector points, it was hugely satistifying.  There is a bit more work to be one in terms of text. You can find out more about the Russian Martial arts school @ CalgarySystema.com

July 6, 2010

Bodyworlds sketches

My town is lucky right now 'cause right now you can go to the Telus World of Science and see the Bodyworlds exhibit. That is where they take cadavers and through the special process of plastination seemingly freeze dead humans in any shape and anatomical level of dissection........ and some with rather artistic takes on it. It is creepy, disturbing and somewhat educational.  Here are some sketches from the foray, I think I'll go again this week and spend a little more time drawing.
These sketches  were done with a .5 mechanical HB pencil  in a small moleskine notebook.

July 2, 2010

Polar bears on Canada day

It was quite the celebration. I did this sketch of polar bears marching from a single Inuit sculpture  of a Polar bear done in soapstone. I glanced it while passing by a window display. I decided to keep them as simple line drawings.  Polar bears tend to be solitary animals and that is where this overlapping pattern becomes really unrealistic, unless of course they were on their way to the teddy bear's picnic!

July 1, 2010

Magic Pop an the technicolor circles

This sketch was one in my small moleskine with the wonderful medium of graphite. 
Graphite tends to smudge as the small particles sit on top of the tooth of the paper.
The smoother the paper, the less it sticks. Fixative is necessary if you want to keep the integrity of your drawing, or in my case I just scanned it.

This drawing was done with a dollar store pen set that had all the colors of the rainbow. I called it 'blockhead' for ironic reasons, maybeI don't actually know why. It's how my brain works I guess.
It just goes to show you that a sketch can be anything, especially because this one is just fun and brings a smile to my face when I see it.